What You Should Know
Battarrea phalloides is an inedible species in the family Agaricaceae. It is recognized by a fibrous, rusty-brown stalk and similarly colored spore sac. In maturity, the spore sac ruptures to release the spores.
It is a rare Red List mushroom that is found in dry, sandy locations throughout the world and has been collected from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America (primarily in western regions), and South America.
The dust of the sponge or the flesh, dried in the young stage and then kneaded. It has antiseptic and antiallergic properties and has been applied as an antihemorrhagic, being used in the treatment of open wounds of draft animals until today in the countryside.
Other names: Desert Drumstick, Flatcap Stalked Puffball, Scaly-Stalked Puffball, Sandy Stiltball, Battarovka Pochvatá (Czech Republic), Stelzenstäubling (German), Szczudłówka Piaskowa (Poland), Battarrée phalloïde (France), Gallert-Stelzenstäubling (Austria), Kveknisgulisebri Batarea (Georgia).
Battarrea phalloides Mushroom Identification
Fruiting body 4-7 cm broad, 2-3 cm thick, compressed-globose, white to cream, partially buried in the substrate; exoperidium, ruptured by spore sac and elongating stalk; spore sac 2.5-4.5 cm broad, 2-3 cm thick, convex, covered by a white membranous endoperidium, the latter splitting horizontally along the margin, exposing a sticky, brown spore mass; stalk 15-35 cm tall, 0.5-1.5 cm thick, equal to tapered at the base, dry, with fibrous, rusty-brown scales; a membranous volva at the base shrivels in age.
2-12 cm across; at maturity convex, with a flattened bottom; the "skin" bald and whitish or grayish, sloughing away on the underside to expose the spore mass.
When mature rusty brown and powdery; abundant.
7-50 cm long and up to 2 cm thick; very tough; hollow; whitish to brownish or brown; ridged or hairy, becoming lacerated-scaly; base enclosed in a whitish, underground volva that often disappears.
Presumably saprobic; growing alone or scattered in dry, sandy soil (coastal back dunes, deserts, sagebrush areas); spring and early summer (but persisting for many months), or in fall; western North America and Alaska.
Spores 5-7 x 4.5-6 µ; subglobose to broadly elliptical; finely spiny, with spines mostly less than 0.5 µ high. Pseudocapillitial threads hyaline to ochraceous in KOH; 4-6 µ wide. Elators 50-75+ µ long; 3.5-7 µ wide; ochraceous in KOH; cylindrical to fusiform; with thickened spirals; abundant.
Battarrea phalloides Look-Alikes
Much smaller and does not produce rusty-brown spore dust.
Is known in the United States from the Mojave desert, and differs from B. phalloides in that the spore sac emerges by ripping through the top of the exoperidium, rather than by circumscissile rupture. The endoperidium of B. diguettii is also smaller, and the spores emerge through several pores on the upper surface of the spore sac.
Can grow taller, up to 70 centimeters (27.6 in).
Commonly known as the "desert shaggy mane", occurs in dry locales similar to B. phalloides, but can be distinguished by its shaggy, elongated cap.
Battarrea phalloides Taxonomy and Etymology
In 1784 Thomas Jenkinson Woodward described this species. It was named by James Dickson in 1785 as Lycoperdon phalloides, and the type locality was Suffolk, England.
Christian Hendrik Persoon sanctioned the name when he transferred to Battarrea in his 1801 Synopsis Methodica Fungorum, a newly circumscribed genus named after the Italian mycologist Giovanni Antonio Battarra.
The specific epithet phalloides means phallus-like, and refers to the similarity of the volva to the genus Phallus.
Battarrea phalloides (Dicks.) Pers. (1801) f. phalloides
Battarrea phalloides (Dicks.) Pers. (1801) var. phalloides
Battarrea phalloides f. stevenii (Libosch.) Calonge (2004)
Battarrea phalloides var. stevenii (Libosch.) Cleland & Cheel (1916)
Battarrea phalloides Synonyms
Battarraea phalloides (misspelling)
Lycoperdon phalloides Dicks., 1785
Battarrea stevenii (Libosch.) Fr. 1829
Dendromyces stevenii Libosch. 1814
Ithyphallus campanulatus (Berk.) Schltdl. 1933
Lycoperdon phalloides Dicks. 1785
Phallus campanulatus Berk. 1842
Photo 1 - Author: Lukas from London, England (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 2 - Author: Lukas from London, England (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 3 - Author: Lukas from London, England (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 4 - Author: Lukas from London, England (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic)
Photo 5 - Author: Phalluscybe (phonehenge) (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
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